How to Litter Train Your Pet House Rabbit
You can do what? Most people are surprised to learn that rabbits, like cats, can be litter trained. Rabbits by nature are very clean animals, and while litter training is a learning process, most rabbits quickly learn how to use their litter box.
How long it takes for your rabbit to master using her litter box really depends on her. Some rabbits pick up using the litter box quickly, while others may take a few weeks or months.
Get your bunny spayed or neutered. Spayed and neutered rabbits will have a much easier time learning how to use the litter box for one reason: When a rabbit hits her sexual maturity, it's natural for her to mark her territory. A spayed or neutered rabbit may still have the urge to mark her territory, but that urge will decrease. (Additionally, it is much healthier for your rabbit to be altered.)
Let your bunny pick the spot. Your bunny has likely already chosen a spot in her cage or her pen where she goes to the bathroom. Encourage her to continue doing so by putting the litter box in her normal spot.
If your rabbit already has a preferred spot outside of her cage or pen and it's not to your liking (on the living room couch, for example), put a litter box in another area and encourage her to use that litter box.
Make sure her litter box is always clean. No rabbit wants to go into a dirty litter box. Clean the litter box, and put fresh litter in at least once a day, more if needed. Make sure you clean the litter box with vinegar either every day or every other day.
(Vinegar and club soda are also a great combination to clean any accidents on the carpet.)
Entice her, with hay, to use the litter box. Rabbits love to munch while they use the litter box, so put some hay in one end of the litter box. Don't be surprised to see your bun stretched out and relaxing in the litter box. Some rabbits love to use their litter boxes as a resting spot.
Don't give her too much too soon. Don't give your bunny too much space too soon. Start by giving her free run of one room while she's learning to use her litter box, then increase it to two rooms. Make sure, however, that you have a litter box in every room in which your rabbit is allowed.
Remember to always praise your bunny when she eliminates in the litter box. Positive reinforcement is an important aspect of the training process.
If your rabbit's great litter box habits suddenly go by the wayside, or if your rabbit simply isn't able to always use the litter box, consult your vet. She may be suffering from an illness or a problem like a urinary tract infection.
You can line your bunny's litter box with newspaper and put hay on top of it. Or, you have several options for litter: woodstove pellets or Woody Pet, kitty litter, or Yesterday's News.
Woodstove pellets. Woodstove pellets are an increasingly popular litter option for both rabbit and cat owners, in part because they absorb odors well. Additionally, a 40-pound bag generally costs less than five dollars. You can usually find woodstove pellets at your local home improvement stores during the winter (if you live in a cold climate). Some stores also sell them all year around.
Woody Pet. Woody Pet is another popular litter for rabbits, horses, and other animals. It's similar to woodstove pellets, but the wood is in smaller chips rather than in pellet form. Like woodstove pellets, Woody Pet absorbs odor well. Woody Pet generally comes in 40 pound bags and costs around six dollars.
Kitty Litter. While rabbit owners still use kitty litter for their rabbits' litter boxes, you must be extremely careful when using cat litter for your rabbit. Never use clumping or clay kitty litter as both can be dangerous, if not fatal, if ingested by your rabbit.
Yesterday's News. Yesterday's News rabbit litter is another popular option that comes in the form of pellets. You can generally find Yesterday's News at local pet stores, and bags are typically ten pounds.
Never use pine or cedar shavings in your rabbit's litter box or cage as they are not safe for use with rabbits.